The What, Why, and How of Defining Positive Futures
In today’s latest episode of “How To Write The Future” podcast titled “Defining Positive Futures,” I discuss values and different models that we live in and answer a few questions that have come in around this notion of positive futures.
ABOUT BETH BARANY
Beth Barany is an award-winning novelist, master neurolinguistic programming practitioner, and certified creativity coach for writers, including being a workshop leader & keynote speaker. Beth has published books in several genres including young adult fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction mystery.
Learn more about Beth Barany at these sites:
“What if we value the art of conversation and truly listening to other people and valuing what they had to say as one of our primary values? Well, now to me, that would be a positive future. No one would be a loser, and everyone would have their needs met.”
I’m an eternal optimist who sees the world through rose-colored glasses. I’ve always been this way, and I’ve learned that there are many benefits to seeing the positive in life. This is what drew me into work on how to write the future. I’m here today to talk about what I mean by positive futures.
A positive future for everyone is what I’m envisioning – where all voices have a place, and everybody has equal access to education, housing, food, and water. I believe that this is possible, and I want to harness our ability to tell stories into visioning what is possible in a positive light.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
- What are the benefits of seeing the positive in life?
- What does it mean to have a “win-win” model?
- How can we bring positive futures into being?
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ABOUT HOW TO WRITE THE FUTURE
The How To Write The Future podcast is for science fiction and fantasy writers who want to write positive futures and successfully bring those stories out into the marketplace. Hosted by Beth Barany, science fiction novelist and creativity coach for writers.
Tips for fiction writers!
This podcast is for you if you have questions like:
- How do I create a believable world for my science fiction story?
- How do figure what’s not working if my story feels flat?
- How do I make my story more interesting and alive?
This podcast is for readers too if you’re at all curious about the future of humanity.
TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 03. Defining Positive Futures
I’m an eternal optimist. Definitely seeing the world through rose colored glasses. I’ve always been this way. But not everyone is this way. And I totally understand that. But what I’ve learned is that there are many benefits to seeing the positive in life and searching for the positive in life. And that is one of the things that drew me into this work on How To Write The Future.
This is a podcast for science fiction writers and other creative writers who want to write positive futures and bring those visions into the marketplace.
Hi everyone. I’m Beth Barany. I’m here today to talk to you about what I mean by positive futures.
To that end I will talk a little bit about values and different models that we live, maybe unconsciously, in, and answer a few questions that have come in around this notion of positive futures.
So first off let me attempt to define what I mean by positive futures.
Now, a positive future for everyone is what I’m envisioning, where everybody on the planet and all life can be respected and honored, where all voices have a place, and where everybody has equal access to education, housing, food, and water and medicine, and has a voice in their politics of their location.
Some might say, this is utopia. But actually, if we look at the course of human history, many more people today have access to these things than ever before. So I’m hopeful that even more people can have access to stability, education, housing, food, water, and have agency within the political process of where they live.
That’s what I’m talking about.
in many parts of the world, for the last 500 years or so we’ve been living under a capitalist model that is really designed to have winners and to have losers. And we could also make a case that this model has been existing for longer than that. I mean, just look at the Romans. They were the winners and they conquered territory. They weren’t the only ones. But they were definitely in the win-lose model.
So one of the values that I want to explore is: how do we have win-win?
What that means is learning the art of negotiation and compromise. What if we valued the art of conversation and truly listening to other people and valuing what they had to say as one of our primary values?
Well, now to me, that would be a positive future. No one would be a loser, and everyone would have their needs met.
I’m not here to debate whether this is impossible because I actually believe it is possible. I’ve seen it. Other people have created it. And later on in this podcast, I hope to interview people who are working inside of these models in their organizations and groups.
Building a positive future, number one, also means having hope, and really tuning into some of our amazing abilities as humans, including, and especially our ability to be creative.
Our ability to tell stories is vast. It is incredible how many stories we have been telling over the course of human history. And so I want to harness our ability to tell stories into visioning what is possible in a positive light.
Which brings me to one of the first questions I got: which is, what if people have different ideas on what good values are?
We can see in today’s world that really what’s going on is a clash of values. Not everybody holds the same values. But what if we could have a conversation about that?
What if we could sit around the table virtually or in person — different people with different perspectives — and talk about our values and have a conversation?
So much of the discourse that’s going on today just presupposes that one’s values are the values and everybody else’s or the opposing sides’ values are horrible.
But what if we all got curious about each other’s values?
So let’s bring it back to your story and what you’re working on.
What are the core values of your main character?
What values are the highest in the culture and the world that you have created?
Is there a clash? Does your main character clash with the values of the system that they are inside of, the culture that they are inside of?
Really good stories include character change, what is often called character arc. Sometimes that means that the main character has a shift in values. What they believe to be true and important at the beginning of the story is by the end of the story shifted into something else.
For example, in my very first fantasy novel Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, at the beginning of the story, she values retreat. She thinks she needs to go away to remake herself somewhere else, far away.
That changes completely by the end of the story. I don’t want to offer any spoilers. But what she values by the end of the story is completely different.
That’s a fun kind of story to write.
Are you including awareness of values inside of your story?
I’d be curious to know. Let me know.
You can find me on LinkedIn or Twitter @BethBarany. You can also email me directly: Beth@BethBarany.com.
I got another question which is: how can there be a future where everyone benefits without one group winning or benefiting at the expense of another group?
Humans have built capitalist system that has been exploiting people for hundreds of years and people have assumed that that’s just the way it is. But actually it doesn’t have to be.
This comes back to just two different models. That’s the win-lose model, but what if there was the win-win model?
By asking how can there be a future where everyone benefits, let’s look at some examples.
Collectives are a great example or co-ops.
How do we do that on a society level?
This comes back to an understanding of systems that I touched upon in episode two.
Essentially, every system has a goal.
So is the goal of the system to award others? Some people win and other people lose? That is the goal of the capitalist system. So if we change the goal of capitalism by changing the charters that you know corporations have to file to be a corporation, what if we change the legality about what it meant to be a corporation. And what if we put into the law itself that company’s goal is to benefit the stockholders and the local community, and the workers and the people where they’re extracting resources?
What if we just changed the rules, so that corporation actually had to be sustainable and regenerative and had to actually put back into the environment more than it took out?
We could do that.
What would that look like?
That could look a lot of different ways.
For example, I actually, I know that BMW tracks all the pieces that they use to make their cars. They put serial numbers on it and they have a mandate soon so that when a BMW car has been run to the ground, it can be returned to a factory. And every single piece that made that car, every single part can be put back into production, it can be recycled and can be reused, or if it’s going to be trashed, it would be done in a way that would not harm the environment. I know that’s a goal of theirs. I don’t think they’re there yet.
So, thank you so much for listening.
I’m at early stages of my How To Write The Future content.
This is both a place of inquiry, a place of learning, and a place for you to bring questions to me.
So please bring your questions to me @ Beth Barany on LinkedIn or Twitter or Beth@BethBarany.com. I’m curious to hear what your questions are, what your comments are.
And stay tuned.
Soon I’ll be doing interviews with people in the field, actually working on these problems and bringing the future into being.
My whole goal with this podcast is to talk to people who are actually implementing tools of foresight and strategic planning and futurism.
And how do we bring that back into our storytelling?
Let me know if you have any questions and I will see you in the next episode.
Write long and prosper.
Plenty of writing resources available on Writers Fun Zone.
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